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AMWHO Conference gives students opportunity to resolve public health problems

The 2018 American Mock World Health Organization International Conference brought together students to gain hands-on experience making public health policy at this weekend’s fifth annual conference, held in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

AMWHO provides student participants the chance to effect real change by collaborating to produce resolutions for public health issues. These resolutions are sent to the World Health Organizationin Geneva, Switzerland to receive comments. 

Pooja Joshi, executive co-director of AMWHO International Conference who helped organize and run this year’s conference, said she was excited for the participants and wanted them to leave proud of what they produced. 

“Delegates are really enjoying everything that's going on today," Joshi said. "So it feels like it’s finally all worth it to see them engaging in the theme and the policy they're coming up with."

This year’s theme was global health innovations. 

In the conference, participants spent the weekend in their various delegations from certain geographical regions. They represented countries, non-profits or companies and worked to create resolutions that would be evaluated and voted on by the rest of the delegations. 

Joshi, as someone who had been a participant in the conference before, said she appreciated the diversity of majors involved in the conference. 

“We really try to function as an organization that can liaise between the School of Public Health and bring people who may not be majoring in public health, but may just be interested in it, come and participate,” Joshi said. 

Participants also have the opportunity to network and learn from professionals in the field, as the conference featured a keynote speaker and a lunch and learn event with a variety of researchers, professors and students in the medical field. 

Lucy Thames, a participant in the conference, said the lunch and learn was a great opportunity for future career preparation. 

“You can meet a lot a lot of professionals who are in some of the areas of global health policy, and nonprofit work as well, which might be some of the spheres that you end up entering into one day,” Thames said. 

Senior Sarah Miller was a speaker at the lunch and learn event. Miller co-founded the Triangle Health Innovation Challenge, a hackathon that aims to solve health care problems. 

Miller wanted to talk with students about potential health care startups and show that students can make real change. 

“I think one of the problems with the undergraduate mindset is that we think we think we don’t have the tools to solve problems when we do," she said. "And I think events like this get undergraduates to realize that they can and will make a difference if they set their mind to it.”


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